• Altering the Home Literacy Environment: A Look into How Teachers are Supporting Families Through Home Literacy Interventions

      Piatek, Kaitlyn (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
      This empirical research study investigated the following two research questions: what are kindergarten, first and second-grade teachers currently using to make improvements to the home literacy environments of their students and what supports are teachers providing to families of their students to make these improvements successful. In this study, nine elementary teachers were surveyed. An online survey containing qualitative and quantitative questions was used. The first finding from this research study was that teachers are currently provided families with literacy resources/activities to complete at home with their child/children. The second finding for this research study was that teachers stated that it would be possible to positively influence the home literacy environments of their students but they needed more literacy resources in order to adequately support their students’ literacy learning at home. The third finding was that the participants were confident in their ability to support families with home literacy practices and were knowledgeable about the most effective home literacy practices that families could use. The findings from this research study showed that kindergarten, first and second-grade teachers were supporting the home literacy environments and the families of their students by sending home literacy resources.
    • The Importance of Incorporating Critical Literacy Instruction Into the Early Elementary Classroom

      Valvo, Samantha (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
      Early literacy experiences are critical for the development of young children. More specifically, quality literacy experiences are beneficial to children’s understanding of the world around them (Ekvall, 2013). Exemplar critical literacy instruction was evaluated for its significance at the Pre-Kindergarten to second grade levels. Data came from a collection of current critical literacy research and the following themes were created: the need to foster information literate students, how to address emotional collisions in the classroom, the importance of deconstructing and reconstructing familiar texts, critical awareness in the areas of identity, race, and culture, and social justice dialogue and student emotions. Analysis focused on the two methods of critical literacy instruction, teacher-led discussions and student-engaged strategies. The most effective method, student-engaged strategies, was then further evaluated for potential lesson structure in the classroom. The results led to four findings. The first finding suggested critical literacy instruction could be incorporated into the classroom through teacher-led discussion and student-engaged strategies. The second finding revealed student-engaged strategies as the most effective way to incorporate critical literacy instruction into the classroom. The third finding discovered the most often used critical literacy strategy, using familiar texts to engage students in interacting with the text from a new perspective. The fourth finding supported New York State learning standards, which expects students to have critical literacy skills to demonstrate their college and career readiness as they continue into higher levels of education, thus all suggesting the importance of students learning critical literacy at the early elementary level.
    • Real World Experiences in Social Studies Curriculum in a Kindergarten Classroom

      Walczak, Christina (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2018-12)
      Kindergarten curriculum has vastly changed in the United States since Elizabeth Peabody started the first English speaking kindergarten started in 1860 (Fromberg, 2006). The curriculum has changed from play-based, exploratory learning to a more academic learning process focusing on meeting standards, instruction, and assessment (McLennan, 2011). For teachers, it is extremely difficult to balance the required curriculum/assessments and to implement more developmentally appropriate practices such as play for kindergarten aged children in social studies. The main purpose of my project is to incorporate more exploratory social studies curriculum into my kindergarten classroom. By including more social studies in an elementary classroom, it helps to create a deeper community of thinkers, learners, and civilians that can work together to understand and solve problems in society. I reviewed the C3 Framework, Inquiry Design Model (IDM), National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, and the New York State social studies resource toolkit, including all their resources in order to generate ideas for my curriculum project. The curriculum allotted three to five days for this curriculum. It can be modified to take longer than 5 days depending on the classroom and community. Therefore, through reading this curriculum, teacher can get clear guidance in implementing hands on social studies in a meaningful way. This curriculum project was made as a tool of reference to guide the findings of a single way to use hands on experiences in social studies in a kindergarten classroom.